Understanding Kapha Imbalance

by Vishakha Gujar   

Kapha Dosha, translated as “that which binds”, is composed of the water and earth elements. An intuitive way of understanding the attributes of Kapha would be to imagine a lump of mud which is a mix of water and earth element. It would be heavy, dense, wet, gross, cold, and slow which are essentially the attributes of Kapha. This article explores various aspects of Kapha Imbalance. 

Kapha is responsible for mucus, water retention, and accumulation of fat in the body. It provides structure, stability, rigidity and is responsible for lubrication in the body. Although it is found in the entire body, the main location, also known as the seat of the dosha for Kapha is in the region around the chest.

Are You a Kapha Dominant? Take our Dosha Quiz to find out! 

Understanding Kapha Imbalance 

Kapha Dosha Imbalance

Kapha dosha corresponds to the strength and stability in the body, It is the dosha responsible to hold the body together. It is associated with the integrity and formation of Ojas, in simpler terms, it is associated with Immunity, when in a state of balance. So a weakened immune system, frequent sicknesses, and loss of strength are some direct indications of Kapha Imbalance. 

A Kapha imbalance may manifest in our body with physical symptoms like:

  • Loss of strength
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hampered digestion
  • Constant feeling of heaviness
  • Increased weight/ sudden weight gain
  • Frequent cold/ rhinitis/ sneezing
  • Increased lethargy 
  • Oily Skin, Greasy scalp.
  • Diabetes 
  • Nausea and chills 

A Kapha imbalance may manifest in our body with behavioral symptoms like:

  • Lethargy, extreme laziness, and mental dullness
  • Tendency to oversleep and procrastinate 
  • Loss of will and interest to do stuff.
  • Possessiveness, greed, and depression.
  • Feeling of being stuck and stagnant. 

When Kapha goes out of balance is not checked at the right time, there are higher chances that it may also corrupt Vata and Pitta doshas along with it.

The Triggers: Reasons for Kapha to go out of balance 

Kapha dosha is characterized as being heavy, dense, wet, oily, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, slimy, and stable. Ayurveda believes in the concept of Like increases Like, so anything and everything that increases the basic natural qualities of Kapha will cause an increase of the dosha in the body whereas, anything that decreases these qualities will result in depletion of the dosha in the body. 

Remember, Stability is a state of balance. So an increase or decrease of the dosha is called and known as a clear imbalance. 

Some dietary factors that aid in Kapha imbalance are :

  • Consuming an excess of oils, fats, sweets, and desserts causes a direct increase in the dosha resulting in an imbalance. 
  • Consuming all kinds of dairy in excess, like milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and curd will show a very similar effect.
  • Regular intake of cold, overnight, stale foods.
  • Overeating and eating when not hungry. 
  • Sodas, sweet drinks, iced cold drinks will also trigger the dosha to cause an imbalance. 

Some behavioral factors that aid in Kapha imbalance :

  • Sleeping during the day and oversleeping 
  • Staying in cold temperatures for longer durations.
  • Absolute no physical exercise 
  • Emotional backlogs and not expressing them frequently. 

5 Tips for Balancing Kapha Dosha

Kapha Dosha Imbalance

Kapha is naturally heavy and dense, so when Kapha undergoes vitiation, the individual will naturally feel unmotivated, depressed, and sluggish.

Daily routines can be potent medicine for balancing Kapha in the body:

  1. Prioritizing movement

Appropriate exercise or movement is one of the most fundamental Kapha balancing acts. Committing to a regular, daily exercise is one of the greatest gifts Kaphas can give themselves. The best forms of exercise for Kapha types are vigorous and challenging, yet inspiring and fun. Almost any type of exercise will balance Kapha, provided to be performed at a level that is appropriately challenging to the individual. The best time to balance Kapha is to work out first thing in the morning, if feasible. A quick series of Sun Salutation or a few minutes of jumping or running can sometimes do the trick. 

  1. Make small changes:

Kapha people tend to prefer the familiar, so making small changes towards new behaviors may sometimes feel like a stretch. To ease the pain, remind yourself that this is about making a meaningful commitment to a better wellbeing, and not about adding or creating more pressure or work. As Kaphas usually love a sense of leisure, picking up pace may sometimes involve finding the motivation to push through any heaviness that may drag them down.

  1. Break the monotony

Elevated Kapha can cause one to feel unmotivated, lethargic, and living a predictable path. Counter this habit by intentionally choosing to break the monotony of a typical day. It can be great to jump into random opportunities for adventure, lightness, and fun, and to make it a social experience with friends and family.

  1. Clean-up

It is essential for Kaphas to increase the agni or digestive fire to improve digestion and remove any dullness from the body. A light scrape of the tongue; preferable with a copper tongue scraper, gently stimulates the internal organs, awakens the digestive system for the day, and removes bacteria from the tongue that can contribute to bad breath. Drinking warm or hot water with lemon after cleaning the tongue and brushing the teeth helps awaken the digestive tract and hydrate the tissues. Pranayama (breathing exercises), such as Bhastrika and Kapalabhati, can also be a cleansing practice, as it helps in removing any dullness, feelings of sluggishness, or fogginess in the mind and the body.

A Kapha Balancing Diet

Kapha’s pacifying diet generally consists of freshly cooked whole foods that have a pungent, bitter, and astringent taste. They are light, dry, warming, and relatively easy to digest, ideally served warm or hot. These foods calm Kapha by supporting proper digestion and elimination. 

Here are some foods recommended to pacify Kapha

  • Fruits and vegetables: peppers, Brussel sprouts, red leaf lettuce, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, carrots, celery, eggplant, mushroom, ginger roots, apples, pears, cranberries, pomegranate, apricot, raspberries, dried fruits, etc.
  • Dairy and fats/oils: ghee, goat cheese (all in moderation), sunflower oil, etc.
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, black beans, lentils, blacked-eyed peas, etc.
  • Grains: corn, mye, millet, etc.
  • Sweeteners: Raw honey, rice syrup (in moderation), etc.
  • Beverages: coffee (in moderation), dry wines, spicy chai tea, ginger tea, black tea, cinnamon tea, etc.

Kapha Dominants are the most stable, most reliable, and most trustworthy when in a state of balance. They define balance and bring in a sense of calmness and assurance.  So use the above tips very wisely and thoroughly when you recognize an imbalance.  Stay Warm, Stay Happy and Stay Balanced. 

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